weekend update

August 12, 2008

Wow. What a busy weekend. We had an extended family crabfeast here on Saturday. Then we had our local fire department’s carnival to go to that evening. We went to the Orioles game on Sunday in Baltimore and that was a pretty good time. The birds didn’t win (lost 15-7 to the Rangers), but there was a lot of offense. The pitchers got hit around pretty badly. The coolest thing was when my son and his friend moved down to lower seats near the end of the game. Our original seats were pretty good (about 12 rows from the field) but the two kids went all the way down to the Rangers’ dugout. After the game, Michael Young (the Rangers’ All-Star shortstop) gave the boys his batting gloves! Talk about two excited kids! He actually gave the gloves to my son’s friend Jack, who then gave JP one of the gloves. Great kid. And thanks, Michael Young for making those kids the happiest kids leaving the ballpark that day.

Today, it’s back to the grind with cheerleading and football practice.

Music: I’m not a huge country music fan, but I have been listening to Lady Antebellum lately. Enjoying it a lot.

Oh, one more thing about the baseball game. There is a group of people who are, apparently, big fans of Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora. They call themselves Melvin’s Amigos. That a nice name, but I was hoping to see a group calling themselves Melvin’s Morans, which I think would be really funny. It reminds me of this, which may be the greatest picture ever taken.

:0)

wake up

July 1, 2008

Wake up, John. It’s July.

What? July already? Can’t be. I’m going back to sleep.

It’s July, John. You need to get up and write a blog.

Well, I’m looking at the calendar right now and it says, “July 1”, so that means I have 30 OTHER days to write blogs and it doesn’t have to be done right now. Thank you, by the way, for waking me up so early in July. You know I hibernate in the summer. Now, leave me alone.

Now, what kind of guilt-inducing blog conscience would I be if I just left you alone to procrasticate? You have to write. People want to know what you’ve been doing.

No they don’t.

They do. WRITE.

Fine.

Hey everybody! How y’all are? Things here are actually going pretty well, considering the kids don’t have any school or sports keeping them busy right now. This is our down time. July. July goes fast only in retrospect. When you’re in the middle of it, July seems like a month with 74 days.

    You should go ahead and read Suite Scarlett, ‘k?

I’ve finished reading Suite Scarlett, finally – I know, and I’d say it was pretty good. Maureen was definitely on her game when she wrote this one, and it’s cool to see so much of her own personality in her writing. Really enjoyable read. I don’t know what I’m going to read next, but it will probably be yet another book about marketing, advertising and copywriting, which is a potential new career path for me. More on that if it actually develops.

    Check out Lewis Taylor, too.

I don’t know why I’m so late to the party, since Lewis Taylor has already quit the music business, but I recently heard a live version of his song, “Stoned Pt. 1” and it’s so good. Wow. I could only find the studio version on YouTube, so I’ve stuck that in here. The live version I heard is on Volume 22 of the Live From the World Cafe series and it is better than the studio version, if you ask me – or even if you don’t.

    Out and about

Daughter 2 and I spent some time at Canal Day in Chesapeake City last weekend and had a really good time. The crowds were not as bad as they have been in the past and there were lots of things to see and do. We had a great little father/daughter time. I like when I can have some one on one time with the kids individually. I think that’s important, but it can be hard to accomplish.

    Could this be their year?

Our own Philadelphia Soul have finished the season with the best record in the league (13-3) and are all ready for the playoffs, which for them begin this Saturday. I took Daughter 1 and Son 1 up to the team headquarters this past Sunday for a little meet and greet with the players and coaches and a tour of the facility. It was great of the Soul to arrange that for some of their season ticket holders. The catered dinner was pretty good too.

Well, I guess that’s all for now. I still have to go back and edit this to work properly on all of my various blogging outlets.

I really do need to get back to blogging, don’t I? It’s been almost a MONTH since I told you about the Greenpeace activists’ little stunt! So, what’s been up?

Well, both boys have started baseball practice, both younger girls are still doing the cheerleading/gymnastics thing and the oldest girl is playing high school Lacrosse. That keeps our afternoons and evenings pretty well booked, that’s for sure.

We’ve joined some friends of ours to participate in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life this year, so the fundraising efforts have begun and will continue for the next two months or so. There’s a link to my Relay page around here somewhere … hold on … oh, HERE it is.

My local supermarket has had my current favorite coffee on sale for a few weeks, so I’ve been stocking up. We have about 18 bags now (I say “about” even though I know the exact number) and I’ll continue to stock up for as long as it’s on sale. Keep ’em comin’, Acme!

My blog friend Stephanie says that blogs are more fun and easier to read if they contain pictures. Hmmm … all right then.

dressed up!

Rats! See, even my pictures have words. I’ll have to work on that.

One more thing: The new Jack Johnson record is so good! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read reviews that he had “gone electric”, but let me tell you, Sleep Through the Static is on heavy rotation in my car and on my computer and on my iPod and anywhere else I listen to music. Great stuff.

sports, music and books

January 10, 2008

Hey everyone.

Is it already January 10? Man, the year is just FLYING by. So do I have anything to say? Of course I do. Just a few months ago, we had no kids taking gymnastics classes and now we have three kids taking gymnastics classes. How about that? I thought we were done with gymnastics after Son #1 stopped doing it. Now Son #2 and Daughters #2 and 3 are taking classes, although the girls’ class is mostly to help them become better cheerleaders, not gymnasts. Oh, and baseball season is just around the corner. You’d think all of this activity involving the kids would be a goldmine of funny stories for me to write for you guys, and it should be. Stay tuned.

Two friends of mine have released their new cds in the past few weeks. The new record by Ike is called Where to Begin and it is really good. It’s a little harder than anything John and his various band incarnations have done in the past. It surprised me, as I’ve been hearing most of these songs over the past year and I wasn’t expecting the cd to sound the way it does. Great work, guys. Andrea Glass has released Stood Under Stars and, again, wow! Andrea is a really good acoustic/country/Americana artist I met a few years ago when she was making recordings in her kitchen. Now she’s teamed up with some really outstanding musicians, travelled to Nashville to record and is currently in the middle of her UK tour. She’s accomplished a lot in such a short time and the music is fantastic. Give it a listen.

The new site design for JPChambers.com has received nothing but positive reviews so far. So if you have anything negative to say, get it in before I get too cocky! On the fun page, I’ve added a link to a nerd test. I tested sort of medium nerdy. Not as bad as I thought!

Finally, if you have heard me talk about Markus Zusak or read what I’ve written about his books, then you know how impressed I am with him and his work. The Book Thief may be one of the best books I’ve ever read. Here’s a link to an interview he did about the book.

decisions

November 22, 2007

Just when I’ve convinced myself that no publisher or agent will be interested in a collection of personal essays and memoirs from some unknown writer, and I decide to break up the collection and try to sell it in other ways, I just can’t let go. I’ve been considering writing for Associated Content and also looking into paid blogging. I know you’re thinking that I don’t even update my own blog often enough as it is, but being paid and under some deadline might be just the kick I need. The problem I have? Rights. I just don’t want to give up any rights to my work to a non-traditional publisher. I just don’t feel like I can trust them. I really love most of the stuff I’ve put up on my website and, although I realize much of it would need to be edited and rewritten to be truly publishable, I’m willing to do that. I’d just hate for those essays to be in the hands of some internet content producer and unavailable to use in my book. It may be time to take a fresh look at them all, including many I haven’t released yet, bundle them all up and ship them off to the real world. Nothing to lose, right? I just want it to be right. I want to make the best decision.

And I want to sign on with someone who will publish Young Adult Novel also.

See, there’s just no satisfying me, is there?

AND, happy Thanksgiving.

AND, I ordered Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle from Amazon because I couldn’t find it elsewhere and I also needed a few more dollars on my order to qualify for free shipping. What did I order initially? Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas in SURROUND SOUND! Whoo, Baby, I can’t wait for that package to arrive.

take a breath

November 13, 2007

We’re back from vacation, where I blatantly broke the cardinal rule for writers, which is, “take a notebook everywhere you go.” I had some ideas that I thought were funny, but can’t remember them now. I guess I’ll just wing it.

I worked up a good bit of anger and resentment just before we left for Disney when I found out that my short story, Sharpest Knife in the Block did not win the contest I had entered it in. I thought it was a lock! Of course, that’s how I feel about everything I produce. Maybe I’ll let you people read and critique it. It’s different than anything I’ve released to the public so far. A departure, if you will. Experimental. I had fun writing it during the Beach Torture Event, so it lives close to my heart. Also, that might explain why it has a little bit of a bitter edge to it.

There was a recall on Aqua Dots while we were gone. That makes me feel really good, as we gave out Aqua Dots as birthday gifts to a couple of kids recently. “Happy birthday, little girl! Here is a package of poison dots for you to play with.” They are only bad for you if you eat them, which isn’t really the main purpose of the Aqua Dots in the first place. I guess the people who developed these things have never been around little kids, because I’ve seen kids for whom putting non-edible things in their mouths was a complete obsession. If they don’t want kids to put toys in their mouths, then all toys should be made of Brussels sprouts and vitamins.

The end of November is quickly approaching, with a birthday party to throw, friends visiting, Thanksgiving to enjoy, etc. Should be a busy few weeks coming up. Haven’t I been saying that since July?

I’m committed to really decorating the house for Christmas. I’m only telling you that because that will make it harder for me to back out.

And now my sentences are getting shorter. That’s a sign that I have a bunch of things on my mind besides blogging, so I must stop for now.

one more thing: Brandi Carlile is so good.

—————-
Now playing: Brandi Carlile – Throw It All Away
via FoxyTunes

day late

October 26, 2007

Man, it’s so easy to continue not writing when you get into the habit of not writing. All of our fall sports stuff is over now and things are getting back to normal. Vacation is coming, but this one should be fun. Then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. OK, I know I’m skipping a few weeks here and there, but it goes so fast. That’s one of the reasons that I begin to celebrate Christmas (my favorite time of year) on November 1. I don’t wait until the day after Thanksgiving like most people. To me, Thanksgiving is a holiday which falls during the 2 month Christmas season. The old Christmas song cds are ready to go. See? It’s not even Halloween yet and I’m looking right past it. Halloween is just a speed bump in the fast lane to Christmas.

So now that I’ve proclaimed the next two holidays to be completely irrelevant, what else should I write?

Well, The Book Thief is pretty good so far. I haven’t been able to just sit and read it uninterrupted, so I’m only about 1/3 through. A few pages here, a few more there. It definitely has a different style and feel to it. Overall I’m impressed with Markus Zusak, I have to say.

On the subject of cover songs, Dexter has commented on that post with a cover of an Amy Winehouse song, but I had never heard the song to begin with so it didn’t have quite the effect on me that it should have. However, if you want to hear a cool version of Led Zeppelin’s Since I’ve Been Loving You then check out what Corinne Bailey Rae does with it. Regular readers know how much I like Corinne to begin with and here she performs a classic song in her own style.

I’m feeling some guilt over not posting an October essay for JPChambers.com and here it is almost November and I’m not sure what to post for that, either. I haven’t written much new material the past few months, so maybe this blog entry will be the kickoff for some regular writing sessions. NaNoWriMo is next month (November, of course), but I think I’ll have to sit this one out. I’ll see what happens.

—————-
Now playing: Corinne Bailey Rae – Since I’ve Been Loving You
via FoxyTunes

almost forgot

October 3, 2007

Thanks to John Green for turning me on to the greatest cover song ever. I do LOVE unusual cover songs. If you know of any, tell me about them. They’d have to be pretty great to beat this one:

good stuff

July 24, 2007

All right. We survived the Potter party. Got home at 3 a.m. Number 1 son slept on the floor of Borders right next to the greeting card rack. I was drinking a large sized caramel latte at 1:30 in the morning and H.P.-obsessed-14-year-old was happy and excited.

So there.

Hey, look what I got in the mail today.
272.jpg

Isn’t it great? Just the right size for … my wife, who confiscated it immediately.

Music: Why, oh why has it taken me so long to discover Amos Lee?

Summer Lull

July 11, 2007

Well, I’m finding it difficult to make time to write very much lately with the kids home all day. Still doing it, though. It’s just more difficult. I find myself getting angry when I’m interrupted from writing, so whenever it is likely that I’ll be interrupted (which is practically all day) I use the time to read instead. I can handle getting bothered by some kid crisis when I’m reading. I finished John Green’s Looking for Alaska and it was very good. I thought it was a bit slow during the first half, but the second half really grabbed me. Probably because I spent so much time getting to know the characters in the first half. I emailed John to talk about it a bit and he was really great in his response. I don’t know him well, of course, but he seems like a pretty good guy. I’m working on Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes now and it seems promising. I don’t know if I like the book, the author or just the concept. Maybe it’s all three. I’ll let you know.

My friend Andrea Glass is in Nashville RIGHT NOW recording her first CD. Good luck, Andrea! This is also her first time in the U.S., so it’s quite the adventure for her.

quickies:

Beach Torture Event is looming.

I haven’t published a July essay for the site yet, so maybe I’ll just put up a list of links where people can read some of my work that they have almost certainly not seen before. But wow, would that be lazy.

I’ll try to remember to write a blog entry about my experience trying to pre-order Harry Potter and the Unbelievable Hype Machine … sorry … Deathly Hallows. Tomorrow.

David Beckham’s first game for the L.A. Galaxy is going to be a friendly against Chelsea. And it’s televised! Whooo! Yes, the DVR is set.

Speaking of the DVR, it’s time for me to go watch On the Lot, so

later.